In a vote of 222 to 205 the U.S. House reauthorized the 1994 Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). The authorization provides federal funding to programs and organizations that provide assistance to victims of domestic abuse and sexual assault. VAWA grants, provided through the Department of Justice along with the Department of Health and Human Services, established such outreach programs as the National Domestic Violence Hotline and other outreach programs aimed at the education and prevention of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking. Today's passage also increases the mandatory penalty for forcible rape to 10 years.
U.S. Representative Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo), cosponsor of the legislation, issued the following statement: "These programs are essential to the healing process for victims of domestic violence both mentally and psychically and it does do in a way that includes much needed accountability measures. For some women programs and services provided through these grants are the only safe path to a better future."
The reauthorization of VAWA provides funding for an additional 5 years.